A group opposed to political gerrymandering submitted more than 425,000 signatures Monday for a ballot drive that would empower an independent commission to draw Michigan’s congressional and legislative districts, which backers said would make the once-a-decade process less partisan. The Legislature now creates the maps, which are subject to a gubernatorial veto and a possible legal challenge. Katie Fahey, president and treasurer of the Voters Not Politicians ballot committee, said the current system “could not get more partisan. We have people locking themselves behind closed doors to draw these lines for their own favor instead of listening to the people of Michigan and trying to create actual fair elections that hold them accountable to us as citizens.” If at least 315,654 signatures are deemed valid, the constitutional amendment would be added to the November 2018 statewide ballot barring a lawsuit. It faces opposition from Republicans, who oversaw redistricting in 2011 and 2001 and who control the Legislature and governorship.
Though Fahey said the measure is supported by Democrats, Republicans and independents, the Michigan Republican Party said the ballot drive was led by a “Democrat front group” and has no GOP leaders.
“Voters Not Politicians wants to take the redistricting process out of the hands of our elected representatives and hand it to a panel of bureaucrats who will in no way be accountable to Michigan voters,” chairman Ron Weiser said in a statement. “This proposal will lead to our citizens having less say in who represents them.”